New York Daily News (10.31.2012)
The New York Daily News recently reported that on October 30, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital began to notify parents that a maternity ward worker could have exposed their newborns to TB. St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital stated that previous TB tests and an employee health survey did not indicate the worker was infected. Although the hospital did not specify how long ago exposure could have occurred, parents who contacted NBC 4 New York reported their children were born more than two months ago.
Hospital officials tried to reassure parents that it was unlikely their children had TB because transmission usually occurred only after several hours of continuous exposure. The hospital offered free TB testing for the babies or reimbursement for private physician testing. According to a statement from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt, patients who did not receive a notification in the “next few days” were not in contact with the infected worker. Hospital employees who could have been in contact with the infected worker were receiving evaluation, testing, and follow-up.
Data released by the New York Department of Mental Health and Hygiene in June indicated high TB prevalence in the 10457 ZIP code, which included Tremont and parts of Crotona, Beltona, and Claremont. New York’s last TB epidemic occurred in 1994. Although TB usually is curable if detected and treated, the World Health Organization reported that drug-resistant strains killed approximately 2 million people annually worldwide.